President Trump’s voter fraud commission will gather for its inaugural meeting Wednesday following weeks of controversy and criticism surrounding the panel’s mission and recent requests to states.
The White House released an agenda for the first meeting of the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, which will take place Wednesday morning in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Those tapped to sit on the voter fraud commission — a dozen people have been named so far — will first be sworn in and then hear remarks from Vice President Mike Pence, who serves as the panel’s chairman.
Commissioners will then participate in a one-hour discussion led by commission Vice Chairman Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state. During that time, the commissioners are expected to talk about the panel’s mission, its bylaws and operating procedures, future meetings, and possible topics for the voter fraud commission to address.
Trump created the voter fraud commission on May 11 after alleging that millions of illegal immigrants cast votes for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
The commission is tasked with studying vulnerabilities in the voting systems that could lead to voter fraud and also plans to examine concerns about voter suppression and other voting irregularities.
Since its creation the commission has been the subject of controversy.
Many objected to Trump’s decision to form a panel dedicated to investigating voter fraud, since research shows in-person voter fraud is historically rare.
Then, last month, Kobach sent letters to all secretaries of state asking them to turn over publicly available voter-roll data to the commission.
Kobach requested the full names of all registered voters, their addresses, dates of births, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, voting history, and other personal information.
Forty-four states refused parts of Kobach’s request, and the White House received a flood of comments from the public objecting to Kobach’s appeal.
Last week, the White House released more than 100 pages of comments submitted to the voter fraud commission from June 29 to July 11, the majority of them negative.
Kobach’s own participation in the commission has been heavily scrutinized.
The Kansas secretary of state is a leading advocate of strict voter ID laws, and he’s helped craft some of the strictest voting laws in the country.
Since he was elected Kansas secretary of state in 2010, the ACLU has filed four lawsuits against Kobach.
A federal judge slapped Kobach with a $1,000 fine last month for “presenting misleading arguments in a voting-related lawsuit.”
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